The last Sunday in January, the Conscrits parade down the rue nationale in tuxedos and top hats decorated with a different color ribbon according to their age.
Friday evening: Lantern parade with each class (by decade) of conscrits dressed according to a theme.
Saturday morning: The Interclass committee lays flowers on the graves of the deceased. Delegations composed of members of each class visit the sick and elderly from their class in hospitals, retirement homes and homes for the handicapped.
Saturday afternoon: The lady "conscrites" are visited by a group of 5 or 6 gentlemen "conscrits" who present them with the years's program book, corsage and bouquet.
Sunday morning: Each class president is awakened with a serenade. At 9AM the traditional photo is taken and at 11AM the "wave", or parade, begins. Behind their band, the conscrits, arranged from youngets to oldest, parade arm in arm, in tuxedo with bouquets of carnations and mimosas in their right hand and a top hat with a colored ribbon corresponding to their class: 20 years is green, 30 is yellow, 40 is orange, 50 is red, 60 is blue, 70 is purple, 80 is plum, 90 and 100 are blue, white and red. They sing their hearts out and parade in staggered rows of 5 which go from right to left or from left to right contrasting with the order of the musicians and followig their rhythm.
Sunday afternoon: The men from every class dine together in different places. In the afternoon, the Class of 20 year olds form delegations which visit the elderly - a symbol of youth paying hommage to age. During the banquet of the 30 to 90 year olds, a drawing is held as a symbol of the draft drawing held during the war (hence the name "conscrits" or "the drafted" and whose proceeds go to charitable projects in the city.
Monday: in the morning is the departure for the "retinton": a banquet held among the gentlemen "conscrits" in a restaurant outside the city. Monday evening, at 7PM, the 20 year old conscrits, accompanied by the other classes, cross the city with a coffin to be burned on the Place Claude Bernard while singing parodies of religious songs. Tuesday, the 20 year old "conscrits", accompanied by the other classes, give the keys to the city back to the mayor. The festivities officially end on Wednesday with a banquet held among all the conscrits.
The conscrits festivities in Villefranche are so much more than the story of the the draft. They celebrate friendship, memories, reconciliations and solidarity. Professional and social differences disappear in a friendly, casual atmosphere.
Sunday 20 June 2021 at 11 am.